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Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Just a little corner of the interwebz where I occasionally jot down a thought or two. Why do I do it? Partly to communicate in some way with you, the reader, and partly because it's some sad way of leaving a legacy of some kind I guess.

Ramblings

Review: Bear for MacOS and iOS

Jonathan Tom

I have been a user of the Evernote platform for several years now and I have, for the most part, found it useful but since they increased their pricing policy in June 2016 I have been looking for alternatives. With the announcement that they are making some alarming changes to their privacy policy I think I’ve found a decent solution in the form of an application called Bear for both MacOS and iOS. I know that Evernote has walked back the privacy policy change but I feel like that change was just the final straw and shows that if no one had stirred the pot it would have gone through which tells me they don’t necessarily have their customer’s best interests at heart.

Having said that there were a couple of criteria for an Evernote replacement in my books.

  1. The application had to exist on both MacOS and iOS platforms if not Windows as well.
  2. The application had to sync between all platforms seamlessly and reliably.
  3. The application had to allow attachment to notes in the form of emails, PDFs and zip files.

Bear is a pretty fully featured replacement that I’ve been trying out over the last couple of weeks now. There are a good many good points and a few areas that could use some improvement over the next couple of versions.

So the application is oriented around tags which are created by entering a hashtag (or octothorp) anywhere in the body of the note like this: #note_tag. A listing of the tags is presented in the left pane of the default view so as to serve as a way of organizing your notes. The other plus for Bear is that it’s a pretty good markdown editor with rich text preview in-line.

Conclusion

Bear handles just about everything I’ve listed above and then some. The application is free its a subscription for roughly $1.50/month or $15.00/year to unlock their pro features. The pro features are:

  • CloudKit synchronization
  • Themes for the application
  • Rich export options (docx, pdf, jpg, text bundle, markdown etc)

I would like to see the ability to import a file (or text) into Bear from an iOS share sheet or, even better, via a dedicated email address. I am fully aware that it may not be possible or that it may be a feature that would increase the cost of the subscription but it’s something that I would be willing to pay a little more for and I can’t be the only one.

TL;DR

Bear is a pretty good application if you’re looking for a replacement for Apple Notes and/or Evernote. It’s free so you should give it a shot - the subscription is fairly cheap and they offer a free month so it’s worth while.